How to Clean a KitchenAid Dishwasher [Complete Guide]

By Nick Evans •  Last Updated: 06/06/22 •  11 min read

If you are wondering how to clean a KitchenAid dishwasher, look no further.

KitchenAid is a brand that’s well-known for making dishwashers and other home appliances. While KitchenAid makes high-quality dishwashers, dishwashers work hard to keep plates, cups, bowls, and other tableware clean. Failing to clean a KitchenAid dishwasher regularly can result in poor performance and bad cleaning jobs. The good news is that KitchenAid dishwashers are easy to clean and can be cleaned with household items. KitchenAid also recommends cleaning its dishwashers with Affresh cleaners because it can help remove stains from dishwasher soap/detergent. 

We recommend cleaning KitchenAid dishwashers once every 30 days for optimal performance. Our guide takes you through the necessary steps to clean your KitchenAid dishwasher in the simplest ways possible. We’ll cover cleaning the exterior, interior, filters, and other dishwasher components. Read on to learn more.

What You Need to Know About KitchenAid Dishwashers 

KitchenAid dishwashers have been around since 1949, and Josephine Cochrane worked on the design that KitchenAid dishwashers still use today. A KitchenAid dishwasher is unlike other dishwashers because they use a pressurized system that cleans tableware with more power than other dishwashers. KitchenAid dishwashers have been using this design for over 70 years and the company continues to expand on these pressurized systems. 

While KitchenAid dishwashers used simple designs in the 20th century, modern KitchenAid dishwashers are equipped with top-notch cleaning technology. Some examples include sensor technology, flexible rack designs, LED lights, and quiet scrubbers. KitchenAid goes the extra mile when it comes to cleaning dishes but these appliances still need to be cleaned regularly.

How Long Do KitchenAid Dishwashers Last? 

KitchenAid dishwashers last for 6-12 years. Depending on how well-maintained a KitchenAid dishwasher is, these appliances can last for more than 12 years. Some KitchenAid dishwashers can last for up to 20 years if filters are cleaned and maintained. Therefore, taking care of a KitchenAid dishwasher by cleaning it and unclogging the drains can help it last beyond the manufacturer’s warranty.

Do KitchenAid Dishwashers Have Self-Cleaning Filters?

The newest KitchenAid dishwashers have self-cleaning filters. These filters don’t need to be removed or cleaned manually, which makes maintaining and cleaning the dishwasher simple. However, most KitchenAid dishwashers have filters that need to be removed and cleaned. Some KitchenAid dishwashers also have filters that need to be replaced every few years for optimal performance.

How Often Do KitchenAid Dishwashers Need to Be Cleaned?

You should clean your KitchenAid dishwasher once every 30 days. You can get away with cleaning a KitchenAid dishwasher less frequently but waiting longer between cleaning periods reduces the lifespan of the dishwasher. For KitchenAid dishwashers that don’t have self-cleaning filters, we recommend cleaning them along with the rest of the dishwasher at least once every 3 months. Cleaning KitchenAid dishwasher filters regularly can extend the lifespan of the filters, which can save you money in the long term.

How to Clean a KitchenAid Dishwasher 

Cleaning a KitchenAid dishwasher is not as simple as running a cleaning cycle with no dishes in the trays. To properly clean a KitchenAid dishwasher you need to clean the exterior, filters, and scrub food particles from the walls and spray arms. We’ll take you through each part of the cleaning process below.

How To Clean the Interior of a KitchenAid Dishwasher 

Cleaning the interior of a KitchenAid dishwasher can be done in a few ways. You can manually wipe down the walls and trays with warm water and a rag or use white vinegar and baking soda.

When it comes to manually cleaning your KitchenAid dishwasher you need to use a rag or microfiber cloth. We prefer a microfiber cloth because it won’t damage the inside of the dishwasher. From there, use the microfiber cloth to remove deposits of debris, food particles, and detergent from the walls and door. For KitchenAid dishwashers, you should also clean the gasket and the control panel. These can both be wiped down with warm water and a microfiber cloth.

We recommend manually cleaning KitchenAid dishwashers but you can also use a dash of white vinegar and baking soda combination. To use a white vinegar and baking soda combination, follow our steps below.

  1. Mix a solution of white vinegar and baking soda in a small bowl.
  2. Sprinkle baking soda on the floor of the dishwasher near the drain.
  3. Sprinkle baking soda in the detergent tray.
  4. Place the bowl of white vinegar and water in the dishwasher.
  5. Run a warm water wash cycle.
  6. Remove the white vinegar.
  7. Run a rinse cycle.
  8. Remove excess baking soda.

You should always manually wipe down your KitchenAid dishwasher before cleaning it with white vinegar and baking soda. Doing so will loosen grime and debris, which results in better cleaning.

How to Clean a KitchenAid Dishwasher Filter 

Some KitchenAid dishwashers have filters that need to be cleaned. If your KitchenAid has a self-cleaning filter, though, you don’t need to worry about cleaning it. Instead, reference your owner’s manual to determine when it should be replaced (if it needs to be replaced).

To clean a KitchenAid dishwasher, follow the steps below:

  1. Find the KitchenAid filter underneath the spray arm at the bottom of the dishwasher; they’re usually in the center.
  2. Unlock the filter.
  3. Remove the filter and rinse it with warm water in the sink.
  4. Grab a small non-abrasive brush to remove debris from the filter.
  5. Rinse the filter one more time under warm water.
  6. Lock the filter back into place.
  7. Run a regular cleaning cycle to ensure that the filter is working properly.

KitchenAid dishwashers don’t always have the same filter, so we recommend checking your owner’s manual for additional steps if needed.

How to Clean a KitchenAid Dishwasher with AFFRESH Tablets 

Affresh tablets help with tough detergent deposits in KitchenAid dishwashers. KitchenAid even recommends using affresh cleaners once every 30 days. Affresh tablets are also simple to use. Simply place one tablet in the bottom of the dishwasher in a central location and another tablet in the detergent tray. Then, run a normal wash cycle. You can also use affresh tablets when you have dishes in the dishwasher. To do so, add detergent to the detergent tray along with the affresh tablet.

How to Clean the Exterior of a KitchenAid Dishwasher 

Cleaning the inside of a KitchenAid dishwasher is important but you also have to clean the exterior. A dirty dishwasher door will cause dirt and dust from the kitchen to enter the dishwasher, so a cleaning job is not done until the door is also clean. Cleaning the dishwasher door is not challenging but you have to use the right tools for the job. We recommend using a warm rag with small amounts of soap.

To clean the exterior of a KitchenAid dishwasher, you just need a rag with warm water and soap. Wipe down the exterior door and any gaps between the dishwasher and countertops. From there, you can use a paper towel or another rag to dry the surface of the door. Keep in mind that some KitchenAid dishwashers are made with stainless steel. To clean stainless steel, you need to use a non-abrasive cloth and wipe it with the grain. Wiping against the grain can damage the steel and the dishwasher will lose its shine.

How to Clear a Clogged KitchenAid Drain 

Clearing clogged drains and spray arms is essential for KitchenAid dishwasher maintenance. While KitchenAid dishwashers are effective at preventing clogged drains, grime and food particles add up over time. Additionally, filters that aren’t cleaned often can contribute to drainage problems.

How Do You Clear a Clogged KitchenAid Drain? 

Dishwashers have filters that prevent drains and other components from getting clogged. KitchenAid dishwashers also have drains and filters that can become clogged over time. Before clearing a clogged drain, though, remove the filter and clean that first. Doing so can prevent the drain from clogging again. For KitchenAid dishwashers clearing a clogged drain is simple. Just follow the steps below:

  1. Mix a solution of baking soda and vinegar.
  2. Pour the baking soda and vinegar into the drain.
  3. Let the vinegar and baking soda solution soak in the drain for about 15 or 20 minutes.
  4. Run a wash cycle with the hottest possible water.
  5. Check to see if the drain is clear.

If these steps don’t work there are additional ways to clear the drain in KitchenAid dishwashers. Before running through those 5 steps again, use a small tool like a toothpick or paperclip to loosen up grime deposits and debris.

How Do You Clear Clogged KitchenAid Spray Arms?

Most dishwashers have spray arms. Spray arms are responsible for spraying plates and other tableware with warm water during wash cycles. Without the spray arms, the dishwasher can’t perform its job. KitchenAid spray arms are durable and reliable but over time the risk of the spray arm getting clogged increases. Some KitchenAid dishwashers also have multiple spray holes, which means more than one hole can clog.

To unclog a spray arm you need a thin tool. Some examples include a toothpick, paperclip, fork, knife, and brush. Ultimately, KitchenAid spray arms need to be cleaned with a small tool that can fit in the spray arm’s hole. To remove the clog, simply chip away at food particles and debris that’s clogging the spray arm. From there, run a wash cycle with warm water to remove the rest of the debris. When cleaning spray arms using water pressure to your advantage is great after you loosen up thick grime deposits.

Removing Odors From KitchenAid Dishwashers 

KitchenAid dishwashers don’t usually have odors but there are exceptions. Luckily, most odors can be removed by cleaning the dishwasher. Still, some odors are trickier to clean. We’ll cover those below.

New Dishwasher Odors 

We’ll begin with odors found in new KitchenAid dishwashers. KitchenAid dishwashers use warm water to clean dishes, which can heat the plastic and other dishwasher components. When these components are new, there’s a chance that they’ll produce an odor. In most cases, the odor resembles varnish, plastic, or even petroleum. If a KitchenAid dishwasher is brand new, these odors will go away after a few weeks. Odors that persist for more than a few weeks should be reported to KitchenAid or examined by a technician.

There’s also a way to remove new dishwasher odors faster. To do so, rinse the dishwasher with white vinegar or one of Affresh’s cleaners. We recommend against using white vinegar too often because of its acidity, especially with new dishwashers.

Mineral Deposits 

The amount of minerals present in water depends on where you live. While some homes have soft water with few traces of minerals, other regions have hard water that’s packed with minerals. Hard water is better at cleaning things from dishes and tableware but it can leave behind deposits in dishwashers. It’s also important to note that hard water is safe to drink; most of the minerals are even beneficial to ingest.

For mineral deposits in your KitchenAid dishwasher, we recommend using rinse aid. These are light soaps that can be sprayed throughout the dishwasher during rinse cycles. To prevent mineral deposits, you can add rinse aid into the dispenser. Doing so prevents the water from leaving deposits, so you won’t have to run rinse cycles as often.

Burning Smells

KitchenAid dishwashers can also have burning smells. A burning smell coming from a dishwasher can be alarming because they use water to clean dishes, which reduces the risk of components burning. 

That said, it’s not uncommon for newer KitchenAid dishwashers to have a burning smell for a few weeks. In fact, this is common in many dishwashers –even high-end Samsung dishwashers experience this problem. Burning smells in dishwashers that remain for longer periods should be examined by a technician, or you can try some of our other solutions to identify the problem.

Stay Clean! 

KitchenAid dishwashers are reliable cleaning machines. The company has been manufacturing reliable dishwashers for over 50 years and continues to innovate with things like self-cleaning filters. While a KitchenAid dishwasher is long-lasting and reliable, failing to clean it will shorten the lifespan. Plus, an unclean dishwasher will have odors from grime and food particles. 

The good news is that cleaning a KitchenAid dishwasher once a month is enough to enjoy your dishwashing experience for years to come. We also recommend doing deeper cleans once every few months, especially for filters that aren’t self-cleaning.

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